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LEX 18 In-Depth: The White House's at-home COVID-19 test program

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Posted at 7:15 AM, Feb 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-17 07:15:38-05

WOODFORD COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — The White House launched its program to send free at-home COVID-19 tests through USPS about a month ago.

LEX18 asked for reaction to the program thus far and received more than 1,100 comments on Facebook in response.

Of those who ordered the tests, responses ranged from being happy about the ease of the process to complaints about how they're still waiting to receive their tests.

While Biden Administration officials have said to expect the tests to ship in only seven to twelve days, they also said they would prioritize "households experiencing the highest social vulnerability and in communities that have experienced a disproportionate share of COVID-19 cases and deaths, particularly during this omicron surge."

Lexington woman Brenda Kendall said she isn't concerned about the fact that she's still waiting for her tests after ordering them about a month ago.

"I just wanted to have them on hand, so it doesn't matter to me when they come," Kendall said. "It will just be something convenient and I'm not out any money. It doesn't cost me a cent!"

When she does receive them, she'll have them on hand if she is exposed to someone with the virus.

Woodford County Public Health Director Cassie Prather said you should test five days after exposure. If it comes back negative and you're symptomatic, Prather said you should follow up with a PCR test.

She also warned to be aware of the tests' temperature. Since it's winter, they may sit in a mailbox at freezing temperatures. To work, they need to be between 36-86 degrees Fahrenheit.

"Making sure that that solution inside the test kit is thawed and ready to be activated is key in being able to get an accurate result," Prather said.

At the end of the day, she said the point of ordering the tests is to learn your COVID status so you don't spread the virus.

"Testing is key to knowing your status and if you've been exposed or you're going to be around loved ones that are high risk, knowing your status is key in being able to control the spread. So I think having this additional option for testing is going to help us conquer and control the spread of this omicron variant or other sub-variants that are out there," Prather said.

And the convenience of having them at home doesn't hurt, Kendall said.

"It'll be handy to have them on hand at home," Kendall said. "That way if my husband or I came down with something, started to feel bad, we just test at home, rather than drive out somewhere when you're feeling like pond scum."

If you are having trouble with the website, you can call 800-232-0233 or 888-720-7489 for TTY.

Prather added that through certain insurance companies, you can get eight free test kits per household per month. She said to check with your pharmacy.